Celebrating The 4-20 Day
Every year on April 20th, cannabis smokers around the world gather to celebrate ”Weed Day.“ Reasons for picking this date are not clear; some sources say that “420“ used to be a police code for marijuana smokers back in late 70s, some claim that the number is based on the amount of active chemicals in the plant, some even say it is related to Adolf Hitler’s birthday (which really is on April 20th, but it does not explain why pot smokers would want to celebrate his birthday, of all people). While the origin of the term remains a mystery, Weed Day is a worldwide phenomenon. To stay true to the number 420, people who celebrate this unofficial holiday, light up their joints at 4:20 pm or meet up at that particular time to enjoy some marijuana together.
Weed Day provokes some questions in Martin’s curious mind, thinking about how the legality and illegality of certain objects of interest reflect in our society. If we prohibit something and make it illegal, chances are that black markets, dealers, and gangsters will begin to control more than they should. People will always demand forbidden fruit, sometimes even more because of the fact that it’s forbidden and therefore more interesting to those who want to feel special and extraordinary. They want to experience something that is dangerous, unknown and mysterious for some reason, and things like drugs and alcohol make them feel this way. That may be the very reason why teens are so drawn to these substances, why we can see teens drinking alcohol, smoking pot and cigarettes, and being suspiciously familiar with how cocaine should be taken – and those kids seems to be younger and younger with each generation.
If we forbid a child to stick their fingers into electric sockets, we can almost be sure that the second we turn away from them, they are going to poke the socket again, because they are naturally curious. If a smoking parent tells his kids not to smoke because it is bad for children (but somehow absolutely harmless for an adult), those little guys won’t listen. Obviously, when you label something as NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN, they will be attracted to it. The same goes for illegal substances, and doesn’t only apply to children. How many kids you know that say something like: “I can’t wait to be adult, so I can do this, this, and this.“ And most of the time they do not talk about being able to vote in elections or start shopping for clothes in the adult section. We want what we can’t have and the more it is denied to us, the more we want it and the more we are willing to pay for that “special something.“ And the black market knows that, so they set the prices sky high. Sooner or later, addiction makes the consumer unable to stop buying even though prices get ridiculous.
Alcohol and cigarettes are as dangerous as heroin or crack, yet they are socially tolerated and labeled as legal. They have a huge impact on our health and also our relationships. What is even scarier though is that many harmful substances we can legally get over the counter are actually recognized by the majority of people as food! Sugar is highly addictive and it is almost everywhere these days, even in foods that are not sweet in the first place. Consuming sugar leads to addiction, just like with any other drug, it is health damaging, and in extreme cases, can kill you. Martin shares a story about a 30 year old woman who died from drinking massive amounts of Coca-Cola in 2012. The amount of sugar and caffeine she consumed daily was horrifying, yet still the producer states that the beverage is safe.
Where is the truth and what impact on our health do drugs really have? How is a legal drug different from an illegal one? Who is getting paid from all the income made on the black market? Whose hands are being greased by gangsters? Listen to the podcast and find out.